The federal government lost track of almost 15 million acres of land — an area that would cover the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut — yet insists that federal agencies are the best stewards of “public” land.
An article published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) relates how this massive mishandling of resources came to light:
“Across America, 15 million acres of state and federal land is surrounded by private land, with no legal entry by road or trail. If this so-called landlocked land was one contiguous piece, it would form the largest national park in the country, nearly the size of Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut combined,” [according to The New York Times]. “Most of these inaccessible public lands are in the West, and, until recently, their existence was largely unknown.”
The land was only discovered, according to another recent Times article, because of a smartphone app called OnX. “OnX was born when Eric Siegfried, a mechanical engineer and part-time hunting guide in Montana, decided to make a Google Maps for the wilderness,” the Times reports.
While the FEE article transitions into a discussion of whether the government or private interests would make better use of this enormous swath of land, this article will take a different tack: what does the U.S. Constitution say about the federal government’s authority to own land within the territory of the sovereign states.
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